2021 NFL Draft: Will The Los Angeles Rams trade up or down?

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams don’t have a lot of drat capital this year. While the Rams have been without a first round selection since the 2018 NFL Draft, they have averaged nine picks per draft with a high off 11 and low of eight. When next week comes around, Les Snead and co. will be left with just six selections that combine for the third lowest-point value according to the draft pick value chart.

A trade up seems unlikely given the few number of picks that the Rams have, however, there is no doubt that the Snead will at least be exploring the idea of trading down in certain spots. The Rams only have eight selections, but a trade down or two could bring that total to eight or nine. That’s right in the area that they would like to be. The only question is, when would he most likely pull the trigger.

57th Overall

Let’s start with the team’s first selection at 57th overall. It seems unlikely that the Los Angeles Rams would look to trade back from this spot unless a two things happen, both of which are polar opposites. The first scenario would be that everyone that the Rams would have been targeting at 57 is off the board and the team sees more value in trading back. The other scenario is that there are two or three players that the Rams would be looking at on the board and a trade back doesn’t hurt their chances of coming away with one of those players.

At the end of the day, the team’s first selection is coming outside of the top 50. Any talent that is available at 57, the team is going to need to take advantage of. However, if Quinn Meinerz, Asante Samuel Jr., Dylan Moses, Jabril Cox, etc. are all still on the board, trading back 8-10 spots might be the right thing to do. The Rams just don’t want to make the same mistake that they made in 2019 when they traded out of talent.

In that draft, the Rams missed out on players like Dalton Risner, Cody Ford, Jawaan Taylor, and Erik McCoy because the team traded back three times. Instead, they ended up with Taylor Rapp who isn’t a terrible player, but they missed out on a lot of talent.

A trade up is unlikely. The team could package 88 to move up into the late 40s if they wish. However, the Rams want quantity, not necessarily quality. They want to make the most of the picks that they have. The more dart throws, the more chances to hit.

88th and 103rd Overall

This will be a turning point in the draft for the Los Angeles Rams and Les Snead and is the perfect opportunity for a trade down. I don’t necessarily thing that the Rams would trade back from 88 as it is a 30 pick gap from their last selection at 57. However, a trade back at 103 makes a lot of sense.

103 is just 15 picks after 88 and after this selection, the Rams aren’t on the clock again until 141. That’s a 38 pick gap. The Rams can trade back from 103 to 115-120 and still be in very good shape. In the process they could pick up an extra selection or two on day three.

Trading back here narrows the gap between 103 and 141 and also allows the Rams to accumulate another draft pick or two, depending on how far back they would end up trading. If the Rams can acquire a selection in the 115-120 range and another pick in the 160s or 170s, that would be ideal.

141st Overall

Similarly to 103, the selection at 141 seems like a prime spot to trade down. After pick 141, the Rams have a long wait until their next selection. Their next selection isn’t until pick 209. That’s a 68 pick gap. If the Rams are able to trade back from 103, it makes a lot of sense to trade back 10-15 spots from this selection if not slightly further and pick up an extra seventh round pick.

Again, you don’t necessarily want to trade out of talent just for the sake of picking up more draft picks. That’s a huge misconception when it comes to trading back. Sure, more picks are nice, but so are talented players. Players win games, not draft picks. The farther down you go from this spot, the more the draft becomes selecting priority undrafted free agents that you want to compete in camp.

Trading down from this selection makes sense, but the Rams need to be smart about it.

209th and 252nd overall

Trading back from 252 doesn’t make a ton of sense as that is essentially the end of the draft as there are 259 total selections. However, a trade back from 209 does make some sense. At this point in the draft, teams are taking players that they don’t want to risk them not making it to undrafted free agency. It’s essentially dibs.

At 209, the Rams can trade back and either pick up another seventh this year if the team that trades up has an extra, or look ahead and pick up another seventh round pick next year. At the end of the day, the return would most likely only be a seventh round pick. That doesn’t seem like a lot or worth trading back for, but it’s the ability to throw another dart at the board.



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